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Drugged driver hits tree on Powell

by: David F. Ashton A Portland Police Bureau Traffic Division officer handcuffed the man witnesses said was the driver of the vehicle. Later, we learned that this arrest was on a charge of driving under the influence of drugs.

The call reporting a 'car into a tree', at about 11:30 am on October 28th, didn't sound like much. A VW Jetta had mowed down a spindly sapling, on eastbound Powell Boulevard near S.E. 57th Avenue.

But, the story an eye-witness told THE BEE elevated this routine fender-bender into an interesting story.

'The Jetta was going east, and I was going west on S.E. Powell,' explained Tony Lopez; he watched events continue to unfold. 'The driver veered right up the curb, went over the sidewalk, and ran over the tree.'

Following his instinct to help, Lopez waited for traffic to clear, made a U-turn, and went to check on the accident victims. 'The driver got out of the car and told me, 'Somebody cut me off! Somebody cut me off!' I told him that nobody cut him off; he just drifted up on the sidewalk.'

The incident then took a real turn for the weird, Lopez said. 'The driver tried to put the woman riding in the back over into the front seat - and drive! It's something I've never seen before.'

Even odder, when the crew of Woodstock's Engine 25 arrived, Lopez said the driver told the firefighters, 'Her heart stopped! She's having a heart attack! Her heart stopped!'

We watched as firefighters helped the woman get out of the car - and stand on her own, without apparent difficulty, for at least ten minutes while talking with paramedics. Then, she was strapped to gurney and transported for a hospital checkup, in an ambulance.

'This is the strangest thing I think I've seen,' Lopez commented, as a Portland Police Traffic Division officer walked up to interview him.

Later, PPB Public Information Officer Sgt. Peter Simpson reported to THE BEE. '36-year-old Jeremy Shank was arrested for DUII (Drugs).'